How To Roast Chestnuts

Have you ever wondered how to roast chestnuts? You hear about them in the songs, or from your elders, but have you every known how to roast chestnuts yourself? I didn't either. So, here's a simple guide on how to do it yourself and make it fun at the same time.

Where do you buy chestnuts? Your grocery store will probably have two kinds of them: Castagne, which are the more common type of chestnuts, and Marroni which are the meatier, larger chestnuts. At times, Marronis are as much as an inch or more across in size. Castagne is fine for boiling but for roasting you will need the Marroni chestnut.

Screen the chestnuts by looking over them carefully and choosing just those that are firm and whose skins are a shiny, rich brown color. Obviously, If they smell moldy, or have a blotchy look, or pin holes - toss those out!

First thing to do in learning how to roast chestnuts, make a small cut in the round side of each chestnut. This keeps them from exploding. If you don't do this, you will have a big mess to clean up!

A little history: In the country, some people still use a terracotta baking dish (sometimes looks like a colander) to roast the chestnuts over the coals. Today, it's easy enough to buy a chestnut roasting pan to use over your stove. It looks like an iron skillet or pan with a bunch of holes punched into the bottom of it.

Next, put your carefully chosen chestnuts into the pan and sprinkle them with water. Cover the chestnuts and put the pan over a medium heat.

Then, shake your pan frequently while roasting until you see that the skins have blackened and have pulled back from the chestnut meat (you'll notice this where you made the cut previously). Roasting them should take about 5 to 10 minutes. If the chestnuts appear too charred, then that means you didn't shake the pan enough.

You'll know when they are roasted to perfection by the fact that you can easily open the shell and find beautiful golden colored chestnut meat inside. It's sweet to the taste and a little crumbly in texture. Delicious!

Another way to roast your chestnuts is to place them, with the cut sides up, on a baking sheet or cookie sheet. Roast them in a hot oven (about 400 degrees F) until the chestnuts appear tender. This will take about 20 minutes. To test to see if they have been roasted enough, stick a fork through the cut in shell and test for tenderness.

Finally, wrap the hot chestnuts in an old towel (no matter which way you chose to roast them) and squeeze them hard. Squeezing the chestnuts will break and crush the skins which will make peeling them much easier to do. Let the crushed chestnuts rest inside the towel for about 5 mintues before unwrapping them.

Open up the towel, feast and enjoy!

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About The Author, Sara Gray
Sara Gray is an avid lover of appetizers and has created a great website called Easy Appetizer Recipes where you can find delicious ideas for all kinds of hot and cold appetizers, holiday appetizer ideas, raclette grilling, fondue, tapas small plates, snacks, chips and dip ideas, and appetizer soups.